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The Global Energy Prize annually honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.

Nuclear physicists invented new lung ventilation device for patients with coronavirus

Scientists from the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) decided to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and developed their own lung ventilation system for patients with this disease.

Frederick Bordry, Director of Accelerators and Technology at CERN, the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee member shared with the Global Energy details of the process: ‘CERN proposed the idea of HEV (Ventilator Proposal)…Physics came up with the idea that technology used to regulate gas flows for particle physics detectors could be helpful for the patients suffering from this COVID 19’.

According to him, the HEV design could be used for patients in mild or recovery phases, enabling the more high-end machines to be freed up for the most intensive cases.

Its components are very simple and inexpensive to buy, meaning it can be produced and adapt to any local regulation anywhere in the world. It can be powered with batteries, solar panel or emergency power generator, making it easy to deploy in areas which have limited resources. ‘It is a great demonstration of what a scientific community, used to work together, can do and the example of transfer the technology-based experience to society’, Bordry said.

By the end of March the group called ‘CERN against COVID’ was set up. According to Bordry: ‘The goal was to deploy CERN resources and competencies to contribute to the fight against the pandemic and to ensure effective and well-coordinated action, working closely with experts in healthcare, drug development, epidemiology and emergency response’.

To maximise the  impact of the organisation’s contributions CERN has established links with local hospitals and emergency services, and entered into dialogue with experts at the World Health Organization. Discussions are also underway with the European Molecular Biology Organization and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Bordry declared, that in the laboratories of CERN significant volumes of hydroalcoholic gel are produced, and the 3D printing facilities are being  used to produce equipment such as masks, and face shields. The scientist said: ‘Experts also investigating the vast computer programme for the search of the vaccine, or we could boost the search of such a vaccine. Standard physic tools such as simulation, big data analysis, machine learning, deep learning are being implemented.’

For his part Steven Griffiths the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee member, Senior Vice President for Research and Development, Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KUST) headed the a task force at Khalifa University  to undertake R&D in support of the UAE’s efforts on Covid-19. ‘The ventilator is one such project we’ve undertaken and we’re coordinating with the UAE National Emergency Management Agency on further projects. We also are an active member of the XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance.  At this time it seems that that all efforts are directed toward Covid-19 until the situation is under control’, he said.

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